The HLCM Chair opened by noting that the Organizational Resilience Management System (ORMS) was approved by the General Assembly as the emergency management framework for the organization. He also highlighted the expressed interest of the General Assembly to expand ORMS to the Specialized Agencies, Funds and Programmes. 


The Under-Secretary-General for Management introduced the ORMS item, explaining that the Secretariat has been working on Enterprise Risk Management and emergency management and preparedness because of the significant, diverse risks faced by the organization. He remarked that the ORMS framework was developed in response to a request from the General Assembly following the Haiti earthquake in 2010. The USG indicated that the Secretariat was encouraged by the positive responses of HLCM members to the ORMS questionnaire, concluding that it was timely to develop a common approach toward emergency management. To this end, he recommended that the Committee jointly develop a common ORMS policy, key performance indicators for emergency management (KPIs) and maintenance, exercise and review (ME&R) regime.

In response, UNDP expressed their support to develop a common understanding of resilience and KPIs to simplify audit. UNDP also emphasized the relevance of organizational resilience to the Fit-for-Purpose discussion, underlining the need for the United Nations system to demonstrate resilience and the ability to deliver under even the most extreme circumstances.

UNICEF voiced their appreciation for the work completed to date and their support to develop the ORMS policy, KPIs and ME&R regime. UNICEF experience shows that without ME&R, business continuity does not work because staff must be trained and systems tested in advance of a disruption. UNICEF also recognized the need to bring emergency management under a common framework to reduce the burden on country offices to implement effective emergency preparedness and response. UNICEF indicated that they will continue to contribute to the development of ORMS and, in this regard, encouraged the use of the ISO 22301 for Business Continuity. UN Women expressed their support for ORMS, explaining they have developed ERM with assistance from WIPO and WFP. They advocated for the use of common standards, such as the ISO for Business Continuity. 

UNFPA endorsed the proposal of UNICEF, and will contribute to ORMS development. Noting the linkages between ORMS and the Security Risk Management, UNFPA urged the use of common terminology. WHO also voiced their support for ORMS and their intent to participate in its further development. WHO observed a link between ORMS and the first agenda item on reconciling duty of care for UN personnel while operating in high risk environments, and urged the adoption of a common framework. IAEA echoed these sentiments, recognizing the excellent work completed to date and expressing their full support to the adoption of ORMS. WFP also supported the initiative and explained that the organization has prepared circulars on business continuity and crisis management that align with ORMS. WFP indicated that they were looking forward to collaborating with FAO and IFAD to implement a joint framework amongst the Rome-based Agencies. UNHCR also supported the proposed action, recommending the outputs be practical. Similarly, WIPO signalled their backing to develop a common approach to emergency management to forge a common dialogue. UNESCO endorsed the adoption of best practice and suggested the use of ERM as outlined in the COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission).

The ASG for OHRM detailed the HR initiatives being undertaken under ORMS, including:

  • Mass Casualty Incident Response training delivered through the Medical Service Division;
  • First responders training at UN HQ, the Offices Away from Headquarters and Regional Commissions, in which UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF participated; and
  • Preparedness and Response training, in partnership with the United Nations Staff College.

She indicated that a General Assembly Resolution – 67/254 – underlies the effort to collaborate around a common emergency management framework with the agencies, funds and programmes, and encouraged the sharing of best practice as widely as possible. 


The Committee:

  • Took note with appreciation of the update of the development of the Organizational Resilience Management System (ORMS).
  • Decided to form an interagency working group to:
  1. Draft a UN System common organizational resilience policy; and
  2. Develop key performance indicators and a maintenance, exercise and review regime.
  • Asked the UN Secretariat, as lead agency, to report back to the Committee at its October 2014 session.